Cold Water Swimming Hack

Discovered a few weeks ago when we had a river swim….

I took an isothermal bottle  full of boiling water, my daughters mini hot water bottle and two haramakis – one cotton for next to the skin and an ultra-warm angora core-warmer. Once out of the water and dressed (and while my fingers still worked) I filled the hot water bottle with the boiling water and popped the hot water bottle in my roo pouch of haramakis. Combined with my robe I built up a nice warm core radiating heat.  Added tea and amazing marmalade cakes and I was a very happy post-swim seabird! Been doing it ever since to beat the after-drop….

NukuNuku on tour – or how to plan your holidays around swim spots

“Imagine a summer spent swimming in mountain waterfalls, exploring lost ruins and caverns, and camping in ancient forests.” Wild Guide – Lake District and Yorkshire Dales: Hidden Places and Great Adventures

Inspired by the above and the heat of early summer this year I planned our family holiday around my new love, wild swimming. I found two amazing resources – the Wild Swim Map.  This is a website where you can search for swim spots wherever you are heading and read other swimmers’ reviews and notes. I also bought one of the  Wild Guide series for the Yorkshire Dales. This not only features swim spots but covers other ‘wild’ aspects wherever you are going – forests, ancients spots, walks etc.

None of us like a long journey without a stopover – so I used the amazing resource that is the Wild Swim map to find a swim along our route – Port Meadow on the Thames. I wanted somewhere halfway (ish) between home and final destination. We took a picnic from Brighton, drove up, parked in the car park and ate in the car because it was pouring with rain. Of course. The braver (less grumpy) 3 of us then went investigating up river, guide book in hand. Argued over whether this was ‘the spot’,  looked round and felt slightly shy as  dog walkers were the only others around. Our inner Seabird kicked in then and we thought ‘sod it’, whipped off our clothes and jumped in with the ducks. Weedy green water caused squeals when legs became entangled in it, ducks and swans and anglers only a little further off. We felt slightly self conscious before getting in but the minute we were in we didn’t care and felt adventurous (or a bit naughty).

It was the perfect stopover when heading North – just off the M40. Rope swing nearer the bridge that even the older two would play on – smallest one ending up soaked to the waist and doing the rest of the journey wrapped in a towel. Then onwards and Northwards….

Masons Campsite is right next to the river Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales near the village of Appletreewick. The river is at the bottom of the small campsite and has 2 great rope swings where the kids line up and swing out over the river endlessly or spin each other into dizziness and the thrill of nearly falling in.

10 minutes down river from the campsite, after a bit of hesitation and doubt, we found the spot that matched the picture in the book. Despite the glorious sunshine nobody else was in there. Whipped off our clothes again (becoming a theme) while bemused dog walkers looked on and slid in tentatively. Much much colder than the sea in Brighton, peaty tasting brown water, soft and silky. Fantastic. Numb feet like November in Brighton in just a few minutes. Slimy, weed covered stones under foot and bum. Surrounded by stunning scenery. All to ourselves.

We spent the holiday using the Wild Guide as our bible and it kept us outside, off screens and well fed with great pub grub suggestions. Fantastic. Highly recommend. Take your haramaki with you and keep those kidneys warm. Keep tuned for the next wild swim spot recommendation coming soon…

Haramakis to the ready – we are cold-water swimming

Earlier this summer I was attending Camp Abyss with some of my favourite people in the world, close family and oldest of friends. Hot and exposed in the field for 3 days we needed to cool off and get wet. I turned to my new favourite discovery I have banged on about before the Wild Swim Map and the Wild Guide and found Wallers Haven was our nearest swim spot to the field.

It is a little difficult to match the spot on the road to the description given. However, we parked on the side of the (very fast) road and waited for a gap in the traffic and headed over to the bridge to investigate. We took the most difficult route in which turned into a battle with nettles and one of our party almost falling down the side into the river. Don’t do that as there is a ‘proper’ access by path a bit further up the road each way!

We walked on until we round the concrete jetty described in the map. It is a beautiful spot. Peaceful and surrounded by countryside. Weeping Willow trees dangling down over the silky water surface of the river. Minerally (?) tasting water refreshingly cold in the heat of the day. My first river swim! Having been stung by nettles almost falling in the river and spotting a ‘snake’ on the surface of the water one of our party stated that they were just there to watch. However….it was inviting enough to get all of us in having fun. This is despite our varying levels of confidence and anxiety about being out our depths etc. Some stuck to the edges for a quick float, others dived and jumped in and generally messed about. A lovely spot. Much fun. We all returned to the festival invigorated, energised and happier. I highly recommend. Take your haramaki – you will need it whatever the weather after the cold water. Keep that core warm and the rest will follow 🙂

Also published by the Seabirds Blog

Beast from the East is Back?

We have been enjoying lovely sunny and warm weather for November.  However, according to the weather forecast the temperature is set to drop with snow and sleet to hit us this week. An Icy Cloud from Europe… and mention of a mini Beast from the East.

So keep warm out there. Keep your core warm in one of our belly-wraps – the Japanese idea made in the UK.

Our new ultra warm Angora haramaki will work wonders,  keeping you warm from your core. 

Daruma – focus and never give up

Daruma is a traditional Japanese character based on the monk Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. Daruma is a cute way to help someone you love focus on their dreams, wishes and goals through the power of visualisation. My daughter was sent one by her Grandma – a beautiful white one -as she tackled her GCSEs this summer. It sat on her desk wishing her well while she revised and reminded her that her family were rooting for her even if far away.

We love this Japanese concept so we decided to branch out from our haramakis and offer a limited edition screen-printed version with our friend Kat from InkyKat Studios.

Daruma reminds us to never give up on our goals. The Japanese say it shows them to “Fall down 7 times get up 8 – Nana Korobi Yaoki” – the never giving up spirit so valued in Japan. Usually Daruma is a small doll made from Papier-mâché the recipient colours in 1 eye while thinking of what they want to achieve. They then crack on while focussing on their goal with Daruma watching from the sidelines and reminding them of the goal. Once the goal is achieved then the second eye can be coloured in and kept as a reminder of success to motivate the person onwards.

 

Our Daruma is the perfect ‘Good luck’ present. The recipient colours in one eye while thinking about what they want to achieve. They then hang Daruma on the wall or prop them up on their desk to guide them while they strive towards their goal. Once they have achieved their goal they colour in the other eye and keep the print as a reminder of what they have achieved (we advise using fabric paint or Sharpie).

A handmade papercut screenprinted in water based ink onto white cotton fabric and mounted. The print of Daruma is red. The print itself measures approximately 15x17cm and comes in a high quality white 30x21cm (A4) mount cut to fit a ready made frame.

Each print is signed and dated, has a backing board and is wrapped in cellophane and carefully packaged flat to ensure safe arrival.

Get yours here now – free domestic shipping too!

It will come with an explanation and instructions on how to use.